- "This is Santiago, the capital of Chile. In 1973 the national stadium was turned into a concentration camp as a military coup backed by the United States overthrew the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende. The leader of the coup was a fascist. General Augusto Pinochet who rounded up Allende's supporters and brought them here."
- —Introduction to a documentary about Augusto Pinochet
Augusto Jose Ramon Pinochet Ugarte (November 25th, 1915 - December 10th, 2006) was a Chilean military dictator headed prevailing in that country between 1973 and 1990.
In 1973 he took over as commander in chief of Chile. On 11 September of that year, led a coup that overthrew Salvador Allende, despite being considered a loyal ally by him, a close friend of the defense minister Jose Toha and chief of the armed forces, Calos Prats. Since then, Pinochet became the country's government, first under the office of president of the Military Junta (he held until 1981), to which was added the title of supreme head of the Nation on June 27, 1974, which gave the executive branch.
On 16 December the same year took over as President, to be ratified by the enactment of the 1980 Constitution. His government would end after the defeat in the National Plebiscite of 1988 and its replacement by Patricio Aylwin in 1990. Pinochet would remain as commander in chief until March 10, 1998, and the next day assume the post of senator for life, a fact that exercise for a couple of months. He was later arrested months later in London on the orders of Spain on October 17, 1998, a month from his 83rd birthday.
Pinochet's dictatorship has been widely criticized both at home and in the rest of the world by various serious human rights violations committed in the period known as the military regime, so Pinochet faced various trials to date of its death.
The sheer brutality of his crimes are incredible, after his Coup he sent armed troops to search the capital for left wing sympathisers. Students, writers, catholics, indigenous people, and union workers were rounded up, and sent to torture centers, set up in Santiago. These were sometimes police cells or army barracks, but more often they were converted homes, hotels or offices. His most infamous was that he converted the international soccer stadium into a massive holding centre, the people were split into two lines, ones for death and ones for interogation. The ones in the death line were taken to a field and shot, while the ones for interogation were often tortured for weeks before being released. At the height of the repression he had over sixty of these working arround the clock. He practically turned the whole capital into one giant concentration camp.
He also ran his secret police (DINA) which was renound for there cruelty, torturing prisioners with terrible methods such electro shocks, breaking there bones with hammers, forcing them to play Russian Roulette, crushing there legs under car wheels, melting there flesh with flame throwers, pushing them out of helicopters and forcing them to comit canablism and eat the flesh of fellow murdered prisoners. Other methods specialised in humilation and depravity, such as forcing there heads into buckets field with excruments, having women raped by men with Venereal diseases, one unit was even notorious for forcing there prisoners to have sex with dogs.
Quite often the methods of death were paritcually brutal aswell, some victims were tied to railway tracks, others were loaded into Helecopters and pushed out into the icy depths of the Pacific Ocean, others were sent to death camps in the Atacama desert. Others were blow to pieces with dynamite or loaded into planes and forced out into the Andes, higher than anyone ever went.
Fearing that his puppet officials outsides the cities, in the towns may not be implimenting his policy's Pinochet organised the Caravan of Death. A small elite army unit went from town to town with orders to exterminate any Leftists who avoided the camp. Armed with machine guns, knives and grenades they would enter round up any of Pinochets opponets and exercute them. Though only active for twenty-two days, they killed almost 100 people, up and down the 2485 mile spine of Chile.
Pinochet also arranaged a terrorist bombing in Washington DC, that killed rising star Orlando Letelier, a former minister in the previous government and Pinochet's greatest critic.The attack also killed 25 year old United States citizen Ronni Moffitt, who was in the car with Orlando when the bomb his forcing placed underneath it, went off.
On Novemeber 25th 1975, Pinochet invited the dictators of Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia, and Uruguay to visit Santiago. Forming alliances he unleashed Operation Condor, one of the nastiest terror networks ever devised. Overseen by the DINA, it was essentially a pact between the six countries to hunt down dissidents wherever they were, and murder them. Condor allowed Pinochet to kill opponents as far away as Rome.But it was also the DINA’s expertise that allowed the lesser dictatorships on the continent to murder a phenomenal number of opponents at home. It’s estimated now that 80,000 leftists, students, human rights advocates and intellectuals were “disappeared.”
However, his supporters consider him a "hero" would have saved the country from the establishment of a communist regime in the hands of Salvador Allende and supported by the Cuban dictatorship and the Soviet Union and a possible civil war.
By the time of his death on 10 December 2006, about 300 criminal charges were still pending against him in Chile for numerous human rights violations, tax evasion and embezzlement during his 17-year rule and afterwards. Pinochet was accused of having corruptly amassed a wealth of US $28 million or more.
Keep the aggressive domestic policy of Chile with compulsory voting, who continues until 2011, when was declared illegal in the country.
Pinochet suffered a heart attack on December 3, 2006 and was given the last rites. He died a week later from complications following the heart attack on December 10, 2006 at the age of 91 without being convicted on any charges brought to him and by the time of his death about 300 criminal charges were still pressed against him.
- "Not a single leaf moves in this country if I'm not the one moving it. I want that to be clear!"
- —Augusto Pinochet